A Seinfeld Reboot Would Show Its Secret Tragedy

Seinfeld was a “show about nothing,” and it would be a desolate sight to see some 60-somethings do the same things they were doing three decades ago.

Seinfeld reboot can’t happen because it would show its secret tragedy. The famous show was created in 1989 by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David (who also appears in some episodes), and its nine seasons follow a fictionalized version of Jerry, his neurotic friend George (Jason Alexander), his ex-girlfriend Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and his eccentric neighbor Kramer (Michael Richards). The show’s popular formula revolved around its characters getting into comic situations of little significance (like getting a table at a Chinese restaurant or finding their car in a big underground parking lot), then making selfish decisions that further complicate the situation.

Seinfeld is famously remembered as “a show about nothing,” which means not only that nothing much happens, but that the characters never learn or grow from their experiences (perhaps the only exception is the much-debated Seinfeld ending, where the characters end up serving time in jail for their inconsiderate deeds against various recurring characters). Seinfeld became a universally-acclaimed show and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series – this is precisely because it knew how to touch on bigger issues like settling down, friendship, family, and career while making it look like the focus is still the minute aspects and indifference of life.

Seinfeld’s secret tragedy is that, by season 9, the characters remain single and struggle with the same issues they did a decade ago. A reboot would mean either revisiting the characters twenty years later in a similar state (which would be sad) or settled down and living in different places, far away from each other (which would completely disrupt Seinfeld’s popular formula). A reboot would exacerbate a sad undertone that otherwise remains hidden in a cult classic. After the Friends reunion in May 2021, viewers were wondering if it’s perhaps time for a Seinfeld reboot, but it looks highly unlikely – here’s why.

The Characters’ Love Lives Wouldn’t Work

Jerry and Elaine at a diner in Seinfeld season 6 episode The Soup

Throughout most of the series, Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer are single. The characters have short romantic mishaps that are more or less appropriate for someone in their 20s and 30s. In the season 7 premiere, however, Jerry and George have a dialogue where they realize they’re too old to have such immature relationships. George ends up getting engaged to his ex-girlfriend Susan (and stays engaged until Susan dies at the end of season 7), but Jerry gets cold feet and breaks up with a woman for eating her peas one at a time. George’s season-long engagement is the only exception to the characters’ neverending romantic trials and tribulations.

This format just wouldn’t work in a Seinfeld reboot, set over twenty years after the series finale in 1998. The characters would now be in their 60s, so having them navigate the same issues they did in their 30s would make the show a very desolate sight. Another option would be to show the characters having moved on from the emotional place they were at over two decades ago: they could be settled down, perhaps raising children in different corners of New York (with Kramer – whose name was famously changed mid-production – as the most likely exception, if any). While not necessarily sad, this scenario would simply go against what made Seinfeld so popular in the first place. The show was based on the characters being unable to settle down, so showing the four protagonists married with kids seems like a recipe for a disaster reboot.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Already Did A “Seinfeld Reboot”

Seinfeld co-creator Larry David

In Curb Your Enthusiasm season 7, Larry David breaks the fourth wall again by doing a fake Seinfeld reunion, where the actors play themselves and bicker over casting issues (Larry is doing the reunion just so he can cast his ex-wife Cheryl as George’s wife and try to win her back in the process). Although this Seinfeld reunion isn’t canon, in many ways, it’s enough to say the fans did get a reboot. In the Curb episode, Jerry has donated sperm to Elaine to have a baby and George married a woman who amassed a huge fortune from developing the iPhone app “iToilet” (which George is frustrated about, as this was his idea).

Larry David described the Seinfeld episode as a way to do a reunion without actually doing one. When Jerry says “we already screwed up one finale” in Curb’s episode, he is referring to the actual Seinfeld ending, which was one of the most divisive TV finales ever. But he is also saying that maybe they should stop there instead of carrying on with a disappointing reboot. The Curb Your Enthusiasm Seinfeld reunion provides fans with a proper ending for the characters in a safe, non-canon, and more lighthearted way.

A Seinfeld Reboot Would Seem Sad (Says Jerry Seinfeld)

Jerry and George in Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld himself spoke against a reboot, commenting: “It would seem sad to me. It would seem like we couldn’t think of a new idea.” The show had more than 30 million weekly viewers at its peak, and as of October 2021, Seinfeld is on Netflix worldwide and it’s rising in popularity once again. There would be a lot of pressure on a reboot to satisfy the fans’ expectations as well as bring new, valuable canon for the four characters.

Jason Alexander also spoke about the unlikelihood of a Seinfeld reboot (via ABC): “It’s not because we wouldn’t be interested. But if I know Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David as well as I do, they tend to like to set a trend, not follow one.” According to George Costanza actor Jason Alexander, the Seinfeld crew became aware towards the end of the series that they had reached the top, and that the show couldn’t get better from then on. They made a decision to “go out on top” and leave the show to become a cult classic. In this context, not doing the reboot might seem like a safe move, designed to avoid the potential drop in popularity following a bad reboot (as shown by comments surrounding the Hellboy and Matrix reboots, for instance). But all clues point towards a better reason: a Seinfeld reboot would create a scenario where, one way or another, the four main characters would look sad and out of place, living their lives in “a show about nothing” in the 2020s.

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